South Africa Gets the Lead Out


(An SA Blog Beta post from Your Correspondent)

Jan 1 rang in a significant change at the petrol pumps in SA: leaded fuel is no longer on the menu. South Africans with powerful cars are weeping, because the 97 octane level is gone forever. Inland, only 91 and 93 are available, while the slightly more exciting 95 is sold at the coast.

If you’re driving a hired car, it’s likely that the switch to unleaded won’t affect you: most hired cars are less than 10 years old, and thus built to handle it – just fill up as usual. If you’ve hired a car from El Cheapo, however, or Rent-A-Wreck, and are driving a dinosaur (don’t feel bad, Your Correspondent also drives a dinosaur), then ask for the “lead replacement” petrol at the pumps.

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In some instances, older cars will have trouble with the new juice. If yours has a case of the shakes, take it to a mechanic for a timing adjustment. Note: this should take 15 minutes at most, and should be done for a nominal charge, if any. Most garages aren’t charging for the adjustment – don’t get taken for a ride.

And don’t forget to tip your petrol attendant – an R5 coin is standard.